RCV in New Mexico

What is ranked choice voting?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact.

With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices. When used as an "instant runoff" to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters.

In 2008, ranked choice voting (RCV) was approved by Santa Fe voters. Santa Fe is planning to implement it for local elections in March 2018, and in doing so, New Mexico will join states like California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota that have cities using RCV. Santa Fe voters support using ranked choice voting for their elections for several reasons:

Promotes Fairness

Too often, candidates win elections despite being opposed by most voters. With RCV, you get winners who earn a majority of the vote. This means the winner is more broadly representative.

Reduces Costs

With RCV, you don’t need to vote twice since there is no primary or runoff election. Instead, you get a winner in a single high turnout election. This saves money and reduces campaign finance needs.

Fosters Civil Elections

In RCV elections, candidates will ask for your first choice support and also  your backup choices. This encourages candidates to reach beyond their traditional base of supporters. Candidates who have run and won in RCV elections have been successful because of coalition building and effective relationship building with all voters.

Eliminates the “Spoiler Effect”and “Vote-Splitting”

RCV makes elections more fair and representative because you always get to vote your favorite first. This allows you to vote for your true preference based on your hopes and values, instead of the fear of “splitting the vote” among candidates you like from the same community.

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